HSRC Press has won two prestigious NIHSS book awards: for the non-fiction edited volume category and for the non-fiction biography category. The awards were presented at the fifth Humanities and Social Science Book Awards held at The Square, Constitution Hill on the 12 March 2020. Eligible for entry are books published between January 2019 and June 2020, as well as creative collections and digital contributions produced during that timeframe. The awards are open to South African publishers and scholars and independent artists linked to universities. The value of the award is R65 000 per winning entry.
The winner of the non- fiction edited volume category, Black Academic Voices, captures the personal accounts of lived experiences of black academics at South African universities in the context of the ongoing debate for transformation and decolonisation of higher education. This debate has not only raised epistemic, ideological, relational and identity issues in the academy, but also offers possibilities for deconstructing hierarchies of authoritarianism that are racist, sexist, patriarchal and colonial. The broader intention of this book is to illustrate why black academics leave the academy, pointing to ways in which subtle and at times overt exclusion continue to be part of everyday experiences.
“For me, receiving this award at the Constitution Hill also meant a lot. It was in this space where our ancestors were tortured, raped, humiliated and murdered. Last night we reclaimed the space through this book as a rehumanisation project. The award put a cherry on top of this bigger project.” These are resounding words from one of the volume editors Edith Phaswana. Congratulations are in order for the collective editors of the book: Grace Khunou, Edith Phaswana, Katijah Khoza-Shangase and Hugo Canham.
A joint winner of the non- fiction biography category was A Political Biography of Selby Msimang Principle and Pragmatism in the Liberation Struggle, published By BestRed, an imprint of HSRC Press, in partnership with the publisher African Lives. Henry Selby Msimang was one of the great South African activists of the twentieth century. This biography deals with the universal subject of political decision-making and the complicated journey of individuals within political formations in the struggles for political liberation, human rights and social justice. HSRC Press would like to extend congratulations to Sibongiseni Mkhize who is the Chief Executive Officer of the South African State Theatre.
The HSRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Crain Soudien, commented: “You can say that we are delighted to be acknowledged as one of the continent’s leading academic publishers to have two of our titles honoured in this way. We are obviously very pleased for our authors, but also assured that our publishing processes are so consistently rigorous that we are able to produce titles that meet the exacting standards for the NIHSS selection committee.”
To add to the statement, HSRC’s Deputy Chief Executive officer of Research, Professor Leickness Simbayi, extended warm congratulations to HSRC Press team. “Congratulations on this wonderful achievement. Well done indeed.”